559 Tasting Notes
So this tea is quite different than what I expected. I’ve been spoiled by Verdant’s excellent tie guan yin this spring and was eagerly awaiting the autumn harvest. It’s remarkable how the flavor profile of some teas can vary from one tea garden to another. I was expecting some sweet nectar and floral goodness, but this tea is predominantly milky both in flavor and smell. It tastes like a very strong flavored jin xuan. There isn’t much complexity to it beyond the milk and cream flavor, which is quite intense and the aftertaste lingers in your mouth for a while. I couldn’t take more than a few sips of this tea because I started feeling queasy. I tried steeping it gongfu and western style, but couldn’t avoid the nauseous feeling from the overpowering creaminess. Unfortunately this was not a tea that suited me which is too bad because I can tell from the freshness and bright green leaves that it’s high quality.
Flavors: banana, Cream, Melon, Milk
Just finished off the last of my stash of this tea. After starting off on the wrong foot, my appreciation for this tea has grown. I’ve come to enjoy the pickle-y, floral flavor of this tea. I use 3-4 flowers, rinse for 1 minute with 120 F water, and then steep in boiling water for several minutes over a warmer. It’s no Den’s Sakura Sencha for sure, but delivers a nice subtle cherry blossom flavor.
Flavors: Cherry Blossom, Salty
This is a delicious, high quality silver needle tea. It has a light body and sweet, soothing taste. Steeped at higher temperatures, I get a lot more of the hay and corn. For me the sweet spot for this tea was around 165 F at 1 min. That produces the most balanced cup with a mild nuttiness, natural sweetness, and pleasant vegetal notes.
Although I still prefer jasmine scented silver needles, this is easily the best straight silver needle tea I’ve ever had. Just the tea to help unwind and relax before bedtime.
Flavors: Corn Husk, Hay, Sweet
Admittedly I’m not a fan of black and puerh teas but I’ve been trying to branch out and broaden my taste horizons. I received a sample of this with my last Verdant order and the flavor profile was intriguing – lychee, grape, pumpkin, and sandalwood are some of the notes described by Verdant. Sigh – if only this were true. Frankly, I would use less flattering descriptors for this tea. This tea apparently comes from an old forest and that’s exactly what it tasted like: soil and wet wood. The musty smell and earthiness was a little too much for me. It’s pretty much what most puerhs taste like to me anyhow.
Lesson learned, tasting notes are palette specific and highly subjective (including this one). Now for a nice cup of green tea to cleanse my palette.
Flavors: Dirt, Wet Wood
Of all the BTT samples I ordered, I liked this the best. This is a pleasant oolong with light floral notes, slightly vegetal and an unexpected hint of seaweed. When I took the first sip, I thought my sencha somehow got mixed up with oolong. The grassy undertones dominate the initial infusions and then the sweet, orchid/plum notes begin to emerge. There’s really no mouthfeel to speak of or thickness.
Overall, I thought this tea was okay. It’s a perfectly acceptable high mountain tea but nothing to really get excited about.
Flavors: Orchid, Seaweed, Vegetal
I am decidedly a green oolong person but I do enjoy a good roasted oolong every now and then, especially iced. This tea from Verdant is an interesting offering. It feels like a hybrid between a Dan Cong, Shui Xian, and Laoshan black tea. It has the sweetness of a Dan Cong, the deep mineral notes of Verdant’s Shui Xian tea, and a hint of chocolate/cocoa as it goes down reminiscent of Laoshan. I had to dial back the leaf quantity because the cocoa and mineral notes become too heavy for me.
It’s not as floral as I was expecting – which was a little disappointing – and less floral than other roasted TGY teas. I tried this side by side with Adagio’s TGY and thought Adagio’s was more balanced though not as full-bodied as this one.
This is a solid but unspectacular TGY with a slightly unusual flavor profile. I’ll probably cold steep the rest of my stash because it tastes a lot better cold.
Flavors: Cocoa, Mineral, Wood
This mint flavor of this tea is quite different. I’m used to the dried mint found in most teas and steeped fresh mint leaves. The flavor of this tea is akin to those red striped peppermint candies. You get a blast of peppermint that hits your throat and leaves a tingly minty/menthol sensation in your mouth. The strong mintiness overpowers the flavor of the oolong too much for my liking. My least favorite of NaiveTea’s infused oolongs.
The tea itself is visually beautiful and the salt pickled flowers have a sweet cherry blossom aroma. But the taste doesn’t match the intensity of aroma.
Following tasting notes from other Steepsterites, I rinsed two flowers with hot water (140 F) for one minute and then steeped the leaves in boiling water for 3 minutes in glass teapot. The tea tasted like salt water with a very faint cherry flavor. To boost the cherry blossom flavor, I kept the flowers submerged in hot water and put the teapot on a warmer to help it continue brewing. 15 minutes later the cherry blossom notes were a little more prominent but saltiness still overpowered the tea.
I still have a few flowers left so I’m going to troubleshoot this tea to see if I can subdue the saltiness a bit and coax out more cherry flavor. I would not recommend this tea if you want to flavor your sencha or want a strongly floral tea. Den’s Sakura Sencha has a lot of real sakura taste and would be a better option. I also discovered freeze dried cherry blossoms on Amazon which may produce a better tasting tea.
Flavors: Cherry Blossom, Salty, Vinegar
I steeped 1 tsp of this per package directions @ 175 degrees for 2 minutes per package directions and the resulting tea was pretty nondescript. Increasing the amount of leaf roughly 3x produced a much more robust cup.
The flavor of the liquor was smooth and vegetal with hints of savory grass. As it goes down you get a light butteriness and brothy mouthfeel. Not much sweetness here nor any bitterness for what matter.
Personally, I found this tasted like a generic green tea. Good, but nothing special. I would reach for a long jing or sencha over this any day.
Flavors: Dry Grass, Green Beans, Vegetable Broth
This is the tea I was most looking forward to in my NaiveTea sampler pack. I love lavender in chamomile and with NaiveTea’s flair for flavored tea, I figured this would be winner. But I’m sad to say this was not one of their best.
The oolong base doesn’t taste as good as those in their other blends. The tea has a mild lavender flavor but also tastes like flat wheat and a bit stale. It lacks depth and body and isn’t very floral – something I thought would mingle nicely with the lavender.
I’ll try play with steeping variations to see if I can coax out some more flavor out of this tea. In the meantime, I’ll continue to reach for my jar of dried lavender buds for when I want some lavender flavor in my tea.
Flavors: Hay, Lavender